The Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee yesterday (27 May) rejected, by a slim one-vote majority, a proposal to raise the threshold for the creation of a political group, which in effect would ban two of the current parties from Parliament after the next election.
The issue will now be debated and put to vote by the full Parliament during the July plenary session. Any changes adopted would come into effect after the 2009 European elections.
Out of the 29 committee members, 15 voted 'no' while only 14 favoured the amendment, falling one vote short of the required absolute majority.
The two dominant parties, the centre-right EPP-ED and the Socialists, who were largely in favour of the amendment to make the Parliament more efficient, did not manage to close their ranks and bring all 16 MEPs behind the initiative.
This provides the smaller parties, notably INDEM (the European United and Nordic Green Left) and the UEN (Union for Europe of the Nations), whose survival will be seriously challenged if the new initiative comes into being, with breathing space until the plenary votes on the issue in July.